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Notebook: Football returns to practice

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Posted: Saturday, March 8, 2014 6:40 pm | Updated: 1:35 pm, Sun Mar 9, 2014.

Boys are back in town

It’s been two months since LSU has been able to hold an official practice, but the Tigers returned to the Charles McClendon Practice Facilities on Saturday to kick off spring football.

LSU coach Les Miles said it’s too early to start making claims about his team, but he feels good about the Tigers’ enthusiasm for practice even if Saturday was only non-contact practice drills.

“Guys were looking to make plays and younger guys looking to make places for themselves,” Miles said. “Again, it’s way too early to say anything, but I like our team.”

Miles said Saturday was primarily about footwork techniques and hand positioning while LSU practiced with just helmets and shorts.

“I start the practice meeting with this, ‘Alright guys, this is a miserable way of practice, but this is what we’re going to do. We’re going to put our hands on guys, we’re not going to put our helmets down,’” Miles said. “You’ll never hear me say that except for helmet practices.”

The first day of practice was delayed a day after Miles and several other members of the coaching staff traveled to North Louisiana for the funeral service of former West Monroe High School coach Don Shows.

Quarterback competition

LSU sophomore quarterback Anthony Jennings is the presumed heir apparent to former Tigers passer Zach Mettenberger, but Miles isn’t ready to hand him the starting job just yet.

“I think it’s a real interesting situation and I think the idea that you make the idea early is foolish,” Miles said. “I think there’s always going to be that time a young guy gains that speed late, an injury makes the decision or that veteran shows he’s worthwhile.”

Jennings did take snaps with the first team on Saturday while redshirt freshman Hayden Rettig took snaps with the second string and true freshman Brandon Harris went with the threes.

“We want to allow a quality competitive environment for Brandon Harris and the other quarterbacks,” Miles said. “We have to bring Brandon to speed with the comfort of the offense and let’s have at it and see who’s best.”

Jennings led LSU to a comeback against Arkansas after Mettenberger went down with a torn ACL. Jennings threw 7-19 against Iowa in the Outback Bowl for 82 yards and a pick six, but also ran for a touchdown.

Harris was one of the most sought after high school prospects in the country this year and was rated a 4-star recruit after leading Parkway High School to the state championship in 2013.

Rasco, Thompson out for spring

LSU senior defensive end Jermauria Rasco and junior safety Corey Thompson are both expected to be out for the entirety of spring practice due to injury.

Miles said Rasco is out with a shoulder injury, but did not disclose what Thompson had. Both will be back in time for summer practices, Miles said.

“[Rasco] would just miss spring,” Miles said. “If we back spring up four weeks, he’d be good.”

Rasco was eighth on the team last season with 56 tackles, including 6.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble. Thompson recorded 40 tackles in just 10 games played and had three pass breakups.

Junior linebacker Lamar Louis also spent Saturday in a green jersey, but was active in all drills available to the media.

Tigers welcome Grimes, Peveto

Saturday also signified new LSU offensive line coach Jeff Grimes’ first official day in Baton Rouge, while special teams coordinator Bradley Dale Peveto kicked off his second stint with the Tigers.

Miles said Grimes is off to a fast start at LSU and likes what he’s seen thus far from his new position coach.

“I think Jeff Grimes really stepped in and really performed at practice just like you’re supposed to,” Miles said. “You can tell his guys are going to respond very, very well to him.”

Peveto returns to Baton Rouge after leaving the team following an unsuccessful turn as co-defensive coordinator in 2008. Peveto was also a member of the 2007 national championship team as the special teams coordinator.

Miles said Peveto was working with the secondary for the majority of Saturday.

Bolden moves to wide receiver

LSU senior Rob Bolden was seen practicing with the wide receivers on Saturday, instead of his usual spot under center.

“[Bolden] is taking some snaps at receiver and it appears to be a pretty good move,” Miles said. “He made some nice catches today. It’ll be interesting to see how he performs.”

Miles did not specify if the move would be permanent.

Bolden came to the Tigers in 2012 after transferring from Penn State following the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal.

Bolden was redshirted his first year in Baton Rouge and did not see any playing time in 2013.

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